2012 was a fantastic year for movies. Perhaps it was because the movie “2012” worked as a muse for filmmakers and they were able to produce their best work yet, in fear that it may be their last work. Whatever the case, the world did not end and, if 2012 is anything to go by, movies are just going to get better and better from here on out.
The top 15 list of best movies of 2012 contains an extreme variety of genres and many of the super hit best movies that made the list may be surprising to some readers.
You don’t have to be a movie buff to know that some best movies were released in 2012. The wide variety of choices offered something for everyone’s taste but what were the top 15 movies of 2012?
Most years, best action movies, best comedies movies and super hero movies make the top list so it’s no surprise that James Bond and Batman were well remembered at the end of 2012. However, many were surprised by the westerns, fantasies and animations that made it to the list of top 15 best movies of 2012.
TOP 15 best movies of 2012 List
1. The Dark Knight Rises
IMDB rating: 8.6/10 – 165 min – Watch trailer
Director, Christopher Nolan really pushed the limits of best superhero movies with “The Dark Knight Rises”. This final addition to his Batman trilogy barely resembles the comedic comic book style films we are used to and this isn’t a bad thing.
Rather than attempting to make “The Dark Knight Rises” out-do its predecessors and producing an over-the-top superhero movie, Nolan focussed this film less on super-heroism and more on offering a societal warning on the West’s love of money and the dark future that this unhealthy love may lead to.
This film is so unlike the previous Batman movies and yet, at the same time, altogether similar, that it has almost come into a category of its own.
Whether you love or hate superhero movies, this film is an absolute must-see.
2. Django Unchained
IMDB rating: 8.5/10 – 165 min – Watch trailer
Quentin Tarantino was in fine form with this star-studded film. Combining many of the highly popular styles of his past movies, “Django Unchained” is a western like no other. When a former dentist buys a slave named Django, they team up as bounty hunters and set out against the most racist man in their town.
The relationship between the two unlikeliest of friends is what makes this film so likeable and relatable. You will find yourself barracking for these anti-heroes, despite the fact that they are indeed ruthless bounty hunters.
This film is a Tarantino masterpiece and will have you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole unexpected journey of twists and turns.
3. The Avengers
IMDB rating: 8.3/10 – 143 min – Watch trailer
Comic book lovers were a little apprehensive about the release of “The Avengers” because, in the past, most superhero ensemble movies have been disappointingly corny. Not so with “The Avengers”. Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow and Hawkeye come together to fight the evil villain Loki and his army.
Not only does this film deliver the expected comic book heroism that Marvel is famous for, it also goes into great depth of the characters’ back stories and their human frailties which make it so relatable for audience members.
The perfect balance of best action and best comedy makes this a classic Marvel comic book film and, possibly, the best one yet.
4. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
IMDB rating: 8.1/10 – 169 min – Watch trailer
After the success of the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, director, Peter Jackson, has embarked on another adventure with “The Hobbit”. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first part in this trilogy which is expected to be completed in 2016.
With all of the film aspects that audiences adored in “Lord of the Rings”, Jackson has again incorporated epic landscape scenes, fantastical battles between mythical creatures and meaningful symbolism, without adding to or taking away from Tolkien’s timeless masterpiece.
This film is also a little more light hearted than “Lord of the Rings”, which had a very serious tone. The Hobbit is highly enjoyable, no matter which generation you come from.
5. Life of Pi
IMDB rating: 8.1/10 – 127 min – Watch trailer
2012 was the year of film adaptations from best-selling novels and the “Life of Pi” was one of the best.
Although a fantasy, many audience members left theatres wondering if it was based on a true story. This is because Suraj Sharma played the role of Pi with such intensity and raw down to earth emotion that the story became almost entirely believable.
This film reveals our human condition and some of our animal instincts whilst also revealing the beauty of the human heart and our generosity and ability to empathise with our fellow creatures, even as they try to attack us. “Life of Pi” is a must-see film.
6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
IMDB rating: 8.1/10 – 102 min – Watch trailer
Stephen Chbosky not only wrote the best-selling novel, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, but he also adapted it into a screenplay and directed the film himself.
This film delves into the pains of teenage-hood, by perfectly expressing the rollercoaster of emotions and situations commonly experienced during high school.
Unlike other teen films, this story does not involve popularity contests or revenge on bullies. It is more realistic and down to earth than that. It simply depicts the main character’s desire to be average and drift through high school unnoticed yet generally accepted, not unlike a wallflower.
This is a wonderful film for teenagers and adults alike.
7. Silver Linings Playbook
IMDB rating: 7.9/10 – 122 min – Watch trailer
It’s always risky to produce a comedy about mental illness. In the past, comedies on this topic have been renowned for being insensitive and offensive to sufferers of mental illness and their family members.
However, “Silver Linings Playbook” has been executed in such an ingenious way that is it is tasteful and entertaining. Rather than portraying psychiatric patients as fools, this film rather focuses on the fact that we are all a little mentally unstable. The truly comedic parts of this story involve the outrageous behaviour of the patients’ family members.
“Silver Linings Playbook” is an entertaining and uplifting film full of surprises and bound to make you laugh.
IMDB rating: 7.9/10 – 120 min – Watch trailer
Based on a true story, starring and directed by Ben Affleck, “Argo” is about a declassified CIA mission in 1979.
When Iranians took the American embassy hostage, six personnel members managed to escape to the Canadian embassy. While they were hiding out, the CIA devised a plan to smuggle them back into the United States before the Iranians discovered the truth of their whereabouts. Disguising themselves as Hollywood film producers, CIA agents entered Iranian territory and set to work to achieve the impossible.
This film is raw and believable because it is a true story and has been beautifully depicted as such. Just the right amount of comedy, satire, patriotism and action has made this film a winning production.
9. Wreck-It Ralph
IMDB rating: 7.8/10 – 108 min – Watch trailer
Ralph decides he’s sick of being a video game bad guy and wants a career change. In order to gain some acceptance from his fellow video game characters, he sets out on a new quest. He explores some of the other video games in the arcade, coming up against various trials in the process.
This is a multi-layered story with a moral, as is to be expected from Disney. However, it has been said that this is Disney’s best work of the past decade. With the numerous video game references, generation X and generation Y gamers alike are bound to become nostalgic whilst watching this film.
Young children, teenagers and adults have all fallen in love with “Wreck-It Ralph” and you will too.
10. Moonrise Kingdom
IMDB rating: 7.8/10 – 94 min – Watch trailer
This quaint, quirky and alternative film has risen to stardom quite unexpectedly by some. Director, Wes Anderson is renowned for his odd films and gentle yet ingenious comedy. “Moonrise Kingdom” is no exception to this rule.
This film is set in the 60s and is about two teenagers who fall in love and run away together. The drama that ensues involves the teenagers’ parents and townspeople who search for the young runaways.
This film is odd and almost surreal. You will either love it or hate it.
IMDB rating: 7.8/10 – 143 min – Watch trailer
It seems that almost every year, a new 007 movie is released and, almost every year, it makes it to the list of top 10 movies. The James Bond film formula has worked well for years and when you find something that works, stick to it and make it ever-increasingly better.
Just the right amount of action, suspense, romance and cutting edge graphics are what keep audiences coming back for more.
“Skyfall” certainly didn’t fail to impress in any of the above attributes which audiences have come to love and expect from 007 movies. Daniel Craig’s performance as James Bond was also outstanding and added new depth to the character.
12. Les Miserables
IMDB rating: 7.7/10 – 158 min – Watch trailer
Victor Hugo’s classic story has become a timeless piece of art with millions of devoted readers throughout many generations. For years now, this tale has also been told beautifully in the form of a musical on the Broadway stage.
When news was released that “Les Miserables” would be produced as a film, many of the tale’s admirers were nervous that it could not be portrayed effectively on screen. However, audiences around the globe have been stunned by the epic screenplay and tasteful adaptation to film.
Anne Hathaway’s performance as Fantine was particularly special and most audience members were moved to tears. Audiences just couldn’t get enough of this film about grace and many viewers went back to watch it multiple times.
13. Cloud Atlas
IMDB rating: 7.7/10 – 172 min – Watch trailer
“Cloud Atlas” was a very ambitious and risky film but it has turned out to be very popular and the type of film that needs to be viewed a few times to fully grasp the whole plot.
Not only is it the most expensive independent film ever made, it also features a star-studded cast and incorporates multiple film genres into the story which spans over several centuries. In addition to this, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving played the roles of multiple lead characters in the film.
With such complexities involved in the production of this film, it truly is ingenious and very enjoyable to watch the first, second and tenth time around.
14. End of Watch
IMDB rating: 7.6/10 – 109 min – Watch trailer
This documentary-style cop film offers unique insight into the life of police officers. Unlike traditional cop movies, “End of Watch” contains realistic patrols and arrests.
This film is well-liked for its portrayal of the unique buddy relationship that most police partners have. The story is relatable during the scenes that explore the details of their home lives and their friendship with each other but it is also entertaining during the action scenes where the Mexican cartel are after the officers’ lives.
IMDB rating: 7.6/10 – 119 min – Watch trailer
Time travel movies have been done to death and yet, “Looper” offers a unique point of view and a fresh plot. The layers of this film were cleverly put together and this is a film that you can chew on for a few hours or days afterwards. The possibilities and interpretations are limitless and a great conversation point among friends.
Without giving too much away, this story is about a mafia group in the future that hires a man in the past to kill victims who they send back in time to him. The trouble starts when his future self is sent back to him and he hesitates to kill him because it signifies the end of his contract.
Best movies in different categories
What is it about mystery man, James Bond that makes him so appealing to audiences? For decades, 007 movies have been extremely popular at the box office and Skyfall was no different. Daniel Craig’s performance as Bond added a unique element to the film which placed Skyfall high up on the list of top 10 best action movies 2012.
Other popular action films of 2012 were The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises.
There has been much speculation about whether or not Ted should have been included on the list of top 10 best comedy movies 2012. Avid Family Guy watchers loved the film and declared it to be one of the best movies of 2012 whilst other viewers found the plot unrealistic and a little repetitive with the Family Guy references.
So often, comedies about mental illness are poorly executed and downright insensitive. Silver Linings Playbook, on the other hand, is a tasteful and funny film filled with twists and surprises and deserving of first place on the list of top comedies for 2012.
Whether you have kids or are a big kid, the top 10 best kids movies 2012 were outstanding.
Frankenweenie is one of Tim Burton’s best animation works yet and was very popular with young boys. For girls, Brave’s Princess Merida offered a great role model to aspire to.
Wreck-It Ralph was another animated movie that received rave reviews. Not only has it been voted one of the best movies of 2012, it has also been acclaimed as the best Disney movie of the past decade!
The Cabin in the Woods topped the list of top 10 best horror movies 2012 and was even popular with those who don’t usually watch horror films. The plot was well put together and contained just the right amount of chill and humor to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.